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"I Stand for Judgement" - Shylock, the Merchant of Venice

  • Date Submitted: 03/19/2011 02:51 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 72.2 
  • Words: 328
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“I stand for judgement. Answer, shall I have it?” … so shylock addresses the court of Venice in Act 4 Scene 1. This scene reveals two things to the reader. Firstly, it concerns the theme of justice, that is, what is legal and right. Secondly, it uncovers a subtle yet vitally important change in the character of Shylock. Shylock appeals to the whole court and employs a clever analogy to persuade those present. He compares his own situation with those who own slaves or animals which they put to work. He argues that it is legal to you think you have paid for as you and therefore, he should be able to take his pound of flesh from Antonio because he paid for it. Until this speech, Shylock has relied on legal argument only. He is earlier asked by the court why he refuses to relend and replies that he “quote” stands upon the law “unquote”. However, he now changes from his enemy’s blood.
“Quote” the pound of flesh which I demand of him is dearly bought. ‘Tis mine and I will have it “unquote”. Shylock shows no mercy. The fact that he also uses the slave analogy to bolster his argument demonstrates his cleverness and cunning. This speech is f importance to the overall plot development of the play because the tension is building throughout the court scene as the audience is lead to the final resolution of the conflict between Shylock and Antonio. At this point Shylock is not a very likeable character – we feel that he is an unbending man who is out for Antonio’s blood. As the scene progresses, we feel more sympathy for Shylock. He loses. He is stripped of his wealth, religion and daughter. Because this is the central scene, of the play, the speech I have selected is of great significance in that it is the hinge-point at which our feelings for Shylock to begin to change.


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